The responsibilities of today’s leaders are many. They have to be the Jack/Jane-of-all-Trades to teach and lead while also knowing how to delegate and guide their teams to success. With so much pressure on them to succeed (while being responsible for the productivity and skills of others), it’s not very shocking to hear they also make mistakes along the way.
There are some pretty common mistakes made by managers that can be avoided.
- Failure to outline goals and delegate assignments appropriately
Managers must be able to communicate effectively what they need from their staff to reach goals. Without a clear goal in mind, employees are unable to work productively because they have no idea of what they need to do or how to reach their target. Instead, managers should tell their staff what they hope to achieve, set a time frame as benchmarks, and then delegate responsibilities to enable a complete group effort to get there. There should be no question of the expectations of each member of the team and how they are contributing to the end goal.
- Not assessing shortcomings or skill gaps
Even with a complete team, managers should be paying attention to how everyone is working together and contributing. Often, people who look good on paper fail to stack up to the demands of their job. Managers should be able to analyze where a team may be failing and ensure everyone has the correct training and skills to produce results in a reasonable amount of time without having to be coddled. To avoid skill gaps, not rushing through the onboarding process and making sure an employee’s skills directly align with requirements for the job is necessary.
- Not providing feedback or reasonable motivation
Feedback, whether good or bad, can help an individual stay on track and improve their work. Managers who decline to give employees feedback cannot adequately guide them in the right direction. A pat on the back for a job well done or a suggestion on doing something a more efficient way can be all an employee needs to work productively and with confidence going forward. Feedback can be a great motivating factor in the way one works, as well as a manager who gives forethought into the needs of their employees. Finding what is important to staff, giving them flexibility and freedom, along with an appropriate amount of feedback, ensures the employee is happy, healthy and working efficiently for their organization.
- Not being hands-on and available
A manager has a demanding schedule with a lot of responsibilities, but they must not forget about their team and the challenges they may be having. They should check in with their staff often and work with them directly to ensure they are meeting milestones, completing a project to specification and have every tool they need at their disposal. There should also be an open door policy so employees are comfortable to seek their leaders out for help or address any needs they may have. Communication is essential.
- Not leading by example
Everybody’s got to have a hero, and managers should be just that for their staff. By putting their best foot forward and going the extra mile for their team and organization, they should serve as a shining example of what is expected from members of their team. Managers who lead in this fashion can make a tremendous impact on the morale of their staff and turn an “ok” team to one which members are proud to be a part of!
We all make mistakes as we try our best to navigate group dynamics while producing outstanding results for our organizations. Managers who work diligently to correct their own mistakes are laying the groundwork for a successful team which will flourish under their watchful leadership.